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therefore entertained an implacable hatred against him, which soon terminated in his ruin.
The first step Ptolemy took to shew his resentment on this occasion was, to take his daughter Cleopatra from Alexander, and give her to his rival Demetrius, with assurance that he would restore him to his father's throne; after which he marched with his army to Antioch.
At this time Ammonius, the king's favorite, who had concerted the plot, in conjunction with Alexander, for the destruction of Ptolemy, was at Antioch; and no sooner did the Antiochians hear of Ptolemy's approach than they determined to execute their resentment on Ammonius, whom they had long detested for his cruelty and oppression. They therefore rose in a body, and slew him in one of the streets in the city; soon after which Ptolemy arriving they opened their gates to him, and unanimously proclaimed him king of Syria.
Ptolemy was a man of honor, discretion and temperance, and so conducted himself in all public affairs, as to afford satisfaction to his own people, without giving any offence to the Romans. The offer made him by the people of Antioch was very inducing, but his honor giving way to interest, he modestly declined the compliment, and having called a council of the heads of the people, he advised them to receive Demetrius, the true heir to their crown, as their sovereign. He told them that he hoped all past enmity would be forgotten; that he would himself be bound for his faithfully executing the trust reposed in him; and desired that, with respect to himself, he might be permitted to content himself with the government of his own dominions. This modest address had the desired effect: the people with one voice received Demetrius as their king, admitted him into the city with great pomp, and placed him on the throne of his ancestors.
When Alexander, who was at this time in Cilicia, heard of what had passed at Antioch, he marched with all his force to meet Ptolemy, wasting the country through which he passed with fire and sword. On his approach near Antioch, Ptolemy and his new son-in-law met him and gave him battle, the issue of which was that Alexander's army was totally routed, and himself forced to fly
into Arabia, where Zabdiel, king of that part of the country, cut off his head, and sent it as a present to Demetrius at Antioch. Ptolemy was not a little pleased with the sight of the head of his treacherous antagonist; but his satisfaction on this account was of short duration, for at the expiration of five days he died of the wounds he had received in the battle, leaving his son-in-law Demetrius in quiet possession of the Syrian empire.
Jonathan, the high-priest, and governor of the Jews, lays siege to the fortress of Acra. He goes to Ptolemais, in obedience to the orders of Demetrius, to whom he makes many rich presents, and from whom he, in return, receives the promises of very distinguished favors. He sends an army to the assistance of Demetrius, who, after having his purposes answered, takes off those indulgences he had before granted to Jonathan. Tryphon (the governor of Antioch during the reign of Alexander) overcomes Demetrius, murders Jonathan and his two sons, together with Antiochus (son of the late Alexander, whom he had placed on the throne of Syria) and afterwards usurps the government to himself. Simon succeeds his brother Jonathan in the command of the Jewish forces, and taking the fortress of Acra, levels it with the ground. Antiochus Sidetes, brother to Demetrius, lays claim to the crown of Syria, and marches with a body of forces against the usurper Tryphon, who is taken and put to death. Antiochus, having got full possession of the throne, sends an army against Simon, who engages them and obtains a complete victory. Ptolemy, the son-in-law of Simon, causes him and two of his sons to be assassinated, after which he sends the same assassins to murder Hyrcanus, the youngest son of Simon, but he being apprized of their intentions, renders them abortive. Hyrcanus is made high-priest and appointed commander of the Jews in the place of his father Simon. He assists Antiochus Sidetes in his war against the Parthians; at the close of which Antiochus and his army are cut to pieces by the inhabitants of the country. Demetrius, after enduring a long imprisonment, is set at liberty, and recovers the kingdom of Syria, but is deposed and put to death. Hyrcanus enlarges his territories, and makes himself master of Samaria. He is greatly incensed against the Pharisees. His death and character.
JONATHAN, being now grown considerable in power, resolved to make himself complete master of Jerusalem by possessing himself of the fortress of Acra, which was still in the hands of the Syrians. To effect this he laid siege to it with a considerable body of forces; but some of the garrison escaping by night, went to De
metrius and acquainted him with the steps taken by Jonathan. In consequence of this intelligence, Demetrius left Antioch, and marched with a considerable army in order to relieve the place. On his arrival at Ptolemais he sent for Jonathan, who being desirous of keeping up friendship with him, immediately obeyed his orders, taking with him presents of gold and silver, fine robes, and other valuable effects, which he gave to Demetrius, being attended by the priests and elders of the people. The king was so pleased with this distinguished and interestive compliment, that he confirmed Jonathan in the office of highpriest, and instead of going to the assistance of the gar rison of Acra, returned to Antioch.
Demetrius was hardly returned to his home, before Jonathan (encouraged by the favor he had so lately received) sent messengers to him, requesting that, on his paying three hundred talents annually, he might be excused from all tolls, taxes, and tributes under his gov ernment; upon which Demetrius immediately sent away dispatches to the following effect:
“Demetrius the king greets his brother Jonathan, and the rest of the Jewish nation.
"You are hereby to understand that we have written "a letter to our trusty and well-beloved cousin Lasthenes, a copy of which is herewith transmitted.
Demetrius the king, to his cousin Lasthenes, greeting.
"Such is the sense we entertain of the return that our "friends, the Jews, have, from time to time, made to our "good will, that we are resolved to give them some dis❝tinguishing testimony of our particular esteem and re
gard for their welfare. Wherefore, we hereby com"mand that the governors of Aphareima, Lydia, and "Ramatha, with all the lands dependent on those places, "be assigned to the use of Judea: and we exempt Jeru"salem from all taxes heretofore paid to our ancestors, "as well those called crown taxes, and on salt-pits, as "those on corn and fruit; and we command that, for the future, nothing of the kind be demanded. Take care
"that a copy of this letter be sent to Jonathan, and let it "be hung up in one of the most conspicuous parts of the "holy temple of Jerusalem."
Demetrius, being now in full and quiet possession of the throne, and having reason to think he should not be interrupted by any enemies, dismissed his army without giving them their full pay, and retained in his service only a number of mercenary troops, which had been collected in Crete and other adjacent islands. This discharge of the troops (and more especially without giving them their full pay for past services) alienated the affections of the people, his ancestors having been accustomed to keep them in pay in time of peace as well as war.
In the mean time, Jonathan was carrying on the siege of the fortress of Acra; but finding himself not likely to reduce it, he sent an embassy to Demetrius, requesting him to withdraw the garrison, it being out of his power to conquer them by force of arms. This, and much more Demetrius promised to do for Jonathan, provided he would but send him some forces to reduce the inhabitants of Antioch, who had taken up arms against him.
In compliance with this request, Jonathan immediately dispatched three thousand of his choicest men to the assistance of Demetrius, who, arriving at Antioch just as the people had beset the palace with intent to murder the king, immediately fell on them with fire and sword, and having burnt a great part of the city, and slain about 100,000 of the inhabitants, they obliged the rest to have recourse to the king's clemency, and sue for peace; after which, Demetrius sent back the troops to Jonathan, with acknowledgments that the subjugation of his rebellious subjects was entirely owing to their distinguished valor.
But these services were soon forgot by Demetrius, who, thinking he should not have any farther occasion to call in the assistance of Jonathan, broke the agreement he had made in exempting him from the payment of the usual taxes; and (though he had received three hundred talents in lieu of them) threatened him with military execution, unless he sent the same taxes and tributes which had been usually paid by his predecessors.